A randomised pilot feasibility study of eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing recent traumatic episode protocol, to improve psychological recovery following intensive care admission for COVID-19

Andrew Bates, Hannah Golding, Sophie Rushbrook, Elan Shapiro, Natalie Pattison, David Baldwin, Mike Grocott, Rebecca Cusack

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Abstract

Background: Approximately 50% of intensive care survivors experience persistent psychological symptoms. Eye-movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR) is a widely recommended trauma-focussed psychological therapy, which has not been investigated systematically in a cohort of intensive care survivors: We therefore conducted a randomised pilot feasibility study of EMDR, using the Recent Traumatic Episode Protocol (R-TEP), to prevent psychological distress in intensive care survivors. Findings will determine whether it would be possible to conduct a fully-powered clinical effectiveness trial and inform trial design. Method: We aimed to recruit 26 patients who had been admitted to intensive care for over 24 h with COVID-19 infection. Consenting participants were randomised (1:1) to receive either usual care plus remotely delivered EMDR R-TEP or usual care alone (controls). The primary outcome was feasibility. We also report factors related to safety and symptom changes in post-traumatic stress disorder, (PTSD) anxiety and depression. Results: We approached 51 eligible patients, with 26 (51%) providing consent. Intervention adherence (sessions offered/sessions completed) was 83%, and 23/26 participants completed all study procedures. There were no attributable adverse events. Between baseline and 6-month follow-up, mean change in PTSD score was −8 (SD = 10.5) in the intervention group versus +0.75 (SD = 15.2) in controls (p = 0.126). There were no significant changes to anxiety or depression. Conclusion: Remotely delivered EMDR R-TEP met pre-determined feasibility and safety objectives. Whilst we achieved group separation in PTSD symptom change, we have identified a number of protocol refinements that would improve the design of a fully powered, multi-centre randomised controlled trial, consistent with currently recommended rehabilitation clinical pathways. Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT04455360.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-319
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the Intensive Care Society (JICS)
Volume24
Issue number3
Early online date19 Nov 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Aug 2023

Keywords

  • COVID
  • Critical care
  • EMDR
  • PTSD
  • R-TEP
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • early EMDR intervention
  • feasibility
  • intensive care
  • psychology

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